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3 Lost on Mount Hood


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3 climbers climbed right gully and summitted. Then went south looking for entrance to Pearly Gates to descend. They broke off to the east side and dropped down 300 ft below summit and dug cave for all 3 on Friday night.


Sat am, 2 climbers left and went back north to summit ridge. But weather was now bad, 2 climbers try to rtn to cave. There was an anchor near 2nd cave (not a good cave) they put in 2 anchors to be safe while they worked (2 slings on anchor). At that point ice axes found there, ice axes identical (same climber's tools) 1 wool glove, piece of rope as well. Last known place of the 2 climbers.


Thinks they tied into anchor b/c of wind.


Wampler will not ID body right now until body is brought down.



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there have been avy's all week long. We need some wetness and freezing to stabilize the slope. We could throw some TNT but that would just cover up areas and possibly bury climbers, so no explosives for avy cntrl.


Done with C-130 b/c they know from their tests that A/C cannot see person inside a snow cave.


No signs climbers walked out below so Wampler believes they are above tree line somewhere. There may have been an accident.



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Complimented SAR teams for finding the snowcave. It was not easy to find and the SAR folks knew what to look for.


Elliot Glacier is a mess right now, unsafe to travel on.


Families are experiencing really hard times right now. Yesterday was a huge dissappointment for them and all SAR crews. Everyone was going 110%.


We will keep on going for the remaining 2 climbers, hoping for a good outcome.


Will examine deceased climber as soon as he is brought down to see if there is evidence of injuries that may help understand what happened.

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Wampler has left conf.


Chinook just arrived to pick up SAR teams and go to summit.


National Guard speaking now.


Pararescue, PMR and Cragrats transported to summit via Chinook.


UH-60 Blackhawks will continue air search.


Will take SAR 30 mins to get to body after being put on summit. Extraction plan will develop then.


Weather is clear and sunny on top. Body left on mountain undisturbed from found location.


No SAR stayed on mtn last night.


Avy danger is still high and gullies are very dangerous to SAR


(I'm only hearing answers b/c of chopper noise)




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National Guard now taking questions.


Blackhawk chopper arriving now.


Stretcher was just put inside Chinook.


No family members are present at conf today.


Helo crews are very experienced working with SAR onboard.


There will be a 2PM press conference.



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No feed now. Fox is giving a wrap including a 'how to build a snowcave illustrations/lecture.


Adam Housely on the Hood River Airport now says:

3 Family members are here and family will make a statement in a few mins.


Chinook takes only 10 SAR personnel to summit each day (hover altitude is limited by weight on board).


Ok, conference is over for now.


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Frank James has not been provided with positive ID yet, however he has details such as ring with brother's initials so family has concluded that Kelly is deceased climber.


Now Frank reads stmnt. (I am sure stmnt will be posted on news orgs)


They believe Kelly has been found, but feels that 2 other brothers are still on the mtn. Deeply , deeply grateful for SAR workers and efforts to find Brian and Jerry.


Grateful for all of those who have prayed with them. Have found strength in such support.


We find peace that Kelly is with God. Kelly always said he felt closest to God when he was on the mtn. Family is comforted that he went from the mnt, a place he loved.


Now Mikala speaking, Jerry Cooke's wife.

She mourns loss of Kelly and extend sympathy to their family.

All 3 men shared a love and bond for climbing which will last forever. We hope for Brian and Nikko's safe rtn.


Now Angela Hall, Brian's sister.

We are in deep mourning for Kelly James with deepest sympathies for his family, who are now part of my family.

We deeply appreciate all SAR efforts and gratitude for them. Stay safe and warm. Please pray for Brian and Jerry to come home safe.


Very very emotional statements by all.

Family stmnts concluded.




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I received private emails from folks who can't get live feeds on their computers at work that this info was appreciated so I feel this is the least I can do.


The server response got much better after my request to limit your updates.... Thank you. I couldn't post without your help.



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Haven't had much to add to what's been said but I remember a few pages back someone asked about the location of the caves that were found. From what has been said of the location of the cave (on the summit snowfield near the NE sub-ridge leading to the chutes on the coopers spur) this is what the view down looks like in this area. Hopefully this may give some here a better perspective.


(I took these photos in early July of 2006)


This is about 300' from the summit just before the route down the Coopers Spur turns more to the ENE


http://www.feedthehabit.com/pics/ski/kentours/mounthood/summit_down_mounthood1.jpg summit_down_mounthood1.jpg


This is a bit lower but shows the exits of two NF route variations on the lookers left and the coopers spur descent to the lookers right





Like I said, I hope these help to give some perspective to the non climbers what this terrain looks like. For climbers (speaking broadly) the self gratification of climbing routes like these, assesing dangers and overcoming obstacles combined with the physical challenges could be akin to what runners feel when running a marathon or what bikers feel after finishing a century ride. It's part of what makes us tick, part of what made these guys tick.


++vibes to the two missing and the families++

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SIGNAL FLARE DROP - For the lost to light at 9:11 PM


Rescue 9:11 PM !!!:


I called and described this rescue idea to Gerry Tiffany of Hood River Sheriff's Departmant on Thurday, 12/14/06. I asked him to pass the idea on to search and rescue personnel for evaluation. I haven't heard back from Gerry. Please "run with this" if you think it is viable. Please give me some feedback/ideas to make it a viable rescue technique.



The lost need a way to signal. Road flares lit by the lost, on high ground, at 9:11 PM would be effective. Deliver a visible road flare bundle/streamer to the lost.



Drop 2-packs of road flares(unlit), with 250 foot long, red, plastic DANGER tape "tails", on a grid of 1000' by 1000'. Approximate cost per square mile is $200 for flares and red "DANGER" tape.


Lost climbers/hikers may see the air drop in progress because the flares(unlit) will have red, plastic, 250 foot long, "DANGER" tape "tails" attached(zip-ties). The lost can make their way to one or more flare packs and prepare to signal from high ground at 9:11 PM, as indicated on an attached info tag.


All airborne pilots/passengers and ground based viewers will aid in the search by looking for a signal flare(s) at 9:11 PM.


Perhaps "red" DANGER tape "tails" are best for snowfields/snow valleys. The lost could easily see this color on snow.


Perhaps "yellow" CAUTION tape "tails" are best for dropping into green wooded canyons. In wooded areas, the lost would likely find one or more of the flare packs, as the yellow tape would be vertical in the foliage(visible from ground) and horizontal across tree tops(visible from ridge tops).


The flares must be securely attached to the 250 foot long plastic DANGER tape to remain intact upon impact. The 250 long tail will act as a "streamer" and slow the fall of the flare bundle. The 250 foot long tail should be "stuff-sack" packed into a zip-loc bag to allow untangled unfurling after dropping from the plane.


A flying billboard message could read, "FLARE DROP", as the "noisy Cessna" air drops the flares. A local billboard flyer would probably volunteer his plane and time. This would inform the lost of the FLARE DROP.


Second, third, etc. flare bundles found by the lost could be used for heat, melting water, starting fires, etc.


One concern I have is a lot of "red tails" throwing off search and rescue personnel as false signs of the lost. But, if I was lost without a way to signal, I'd prefer seeing an organized flare drop and drag myself the 500' maximum to get a pair of flares. The red plastic DANGER tape could be made into a "Y" or "X" for aerial sighting


Future hikers/climbers could retrieve/dispose of flare bundles and "tails" to alleviate litter problems.


Materials are readily available. Walmart and Schucks for flares and Home Depot and Lowes for the DANGER and CAUTION tape.





Please evaluate this idea and pass it on to Hood River Sheriff's Department or Search and Rescue or Portland Mountain Rescue if you think it would work.




Thank you,


Dale Berg


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Hey jfmctlaw-

Can you please not transcribe/quote the press conference? I don't think that is what this thread is for.




Ok, I guess your the Moderator. I'm happy to abide whatever the rules are. Sorry for the infringement.


gappertimmy is the administrator/owner of this site.

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Dale, your idea is essentially to drop garbage all over the mountain in the hopes that people no one has made visual contact with will find them and use them. Night time rescue is not an option.


The only way this idea could be acceptable is if you secured sponsorship from an Oregon brewery and anyone who finds one of these packets can exchange them for a six pack of Terminal Gravity stout or some such.

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